- Cruise's vigilante ex-army cop isn't interested in sex and focuses
only on bringing killers to justice
- The film is like another episode of 'CSI', with Rosamund Pike
playing a damsel in distress
THE release of writer-director Christopher McQuarrie's Jack
Reacher was delayed one week out of respect for those who died in the
Newtown school massacre on Dec 14.
The film opens with a sniper looking through his rifle's scope and shooting
off six shots at random human targets, killing five. However, its most vivid and
traumatic scene is when the shootings are shown later, but this time at close
Viewers get to see the targets picked off like flies. There's chaos in the
area and people are shouting and running helter-skelter looking for shelter.
There are panic and fear in people's eyes. Viewers hear the last words of some
This scene is so heart-wrenching, and you immediately know why the
distributor delayed the film's release. You can just imagine Adam Lanza, the
Newtown school shooter, roaming the school halls and picking off targets just
like the shooter in the film.
The cops, led by detective Emerson (David Oyelowo), find evidence at the
scene of the shooting that leads to former army sniper James Barr (Joseph
Sitora). The film doesn't show Barr admitting or disavowing knowledge of the
shootings, but he's beaten by other prisoners, which compels him to ask for a
The film is based on based on Lee Child's novel, One Shot. The
titular character in the book is a strapping, 6ft 6in man, definitely not Tom
This fact vexed some fans of the book, but Cruise would have taken it all in
his stride. His vampire character in Interview With The Vampire was not
welcomed by its author, Anne Rice, but she made a U-turn after seeing the
Reacher is an ex-army cop who's been a drifter for years. He lives on the
periphery of society without identification. There's just no trace of him. You
can't even email him.
Reacher did investigate Barr for shooting four military contractors in Iraq,
and he's ready to throw the book at him again, but blonde lawyer Helen Rodin
(Rosamund Pike, seen this year in Wrath of the Titans), convinces him
that there's more to the case than meets the eye.
The police think it's an open-and-shut case and the district attorney, Rodin
(Richard Jenkins), never picks a case he can't win, so the odds are stacked
against Reacher, but swayed by Helen's persuasion, he agrees to be her
Cruise is 50 years old this year, but he's had a body of a taut wrestler
since Risky Business. He never misses an opportunity to show off his
sinewy muscles (except in Collateral, in which he played an assassin)
and he doesn't fail this time, either.
His Reacher, however, isn't interested in sex with Helen and is
single-mindedly focused on getting his sleep.
Reacher isn't a vigilante but his mission resembles that of a vigilante, that
is, he's not averse to breaking limbs and killing people to get to the truth of
what happened in the shootings.
In a way, Reacher is similar to Cruise's assassin character
Two elderly white men who make a big impact in Jack Reacher are
German director Werner Herzog, who plays a mobster who grew up in tough
conditions and who did everything possible to survive his harsh conditions.
The other is Robert Duvall, who plays a shooting-range owner who tags along
with Reacher for fun.
Reacher digs deeper into the case, but his probe is like those conducted in
CSI. It's a cop film with an investigator who disdains the
After a nifty high-speed car chase, and him getting out of the car in the
middle of the road and assimilating into the crowd, who are only too eager to
help him, I'm left wondering: how can he drive like that if he hasn't driven for
The black man giving him a cap to hide his face also doesn't make sense, and
it seems more like a feel-good moment to get blacks supporting a white man's
Helen, after a strong start, appears only as a shouting board for Reacher.
She eventually becomes a damsel in distress, stuck in a quarry shoot-out that's
so common in other films, such as Bond films.
It's safe to say that the film missed the bullseye by miles. Perhaps the
director was reaching beyond his comfort zone.
3 out of 5
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